As I mentioned in my previous blog post (Book cover – Initial concepts), I wanted an image of Kelvoo to be the center of attention on my book cover. Typically, book covers depict characters in one of the following ways:
While thinking about an autobiographical cover, I recalled some previous exposure that I had to 3D modeling in computer graphics. I remembered dealing with artists who could produce models of consumer goods that could be placed inside a scene. For example, realistic models of home furnishings can be dragged onto a photo of a homeowner’s empty room, and put into various positions to provide a preview of what the furniture would actually look like in the room. Each piece of furniture can be rotated, its surface finishes can be changed (e.g. showing different fabrics on a sofa), and light sources can be adjusted to show the appearance of shadows and reflections off the item.
I knew that similar artists existed to create fantastical creatures for the motion picture and video game industries. Movies such as Avatar and the Lord of the Rings series demonstrate the realism and impact of 3D computer graphic characters. I decided to try to find an artist to produce a model of Kelvoo that could be posed, lit, and viewed in any number of ways and would be portrayed very realistically.
I performed a web search for “3D Character Artist” and found three artists with impressive portfolios that seemed to be in line with the type of work I was looking for. I asked each artist similar questions and I was especially impressed with the response from one artist in particular. That’s when I started working with Alain Berset, located in Switzerland.
I started by sending Alain two of my crude sketches of Kelvoo, along with a description of a Kloormar from the book.
Before any 3D modeling could take place, Alain produced a sketch, to ensure that we were on the same page. The sketch wasn’t exactly what I was expecting, but the more I looked at it, the more I liked several aspects of it. For example, I was expecting the eye to be a simple hemisphere, but I appreciated the more natural looking saddle-shape of the eye’s base. The feet in my sketches looked like cone-shaped hooves, but I preferred the feet that Alain drew.
I did ask for a couple of changes, simply to better match descriptions in various parts of Kelvoo’s Testimonial. I asked for the “ears” (the tubes extending from the shoulders) to be shortened. As much as I liked the long, double-jointed lower limbs, my story describes the kloormari as being about as tall as adult humans when assuming a relaxed, upright stance. If the kloormar in the sketch stood straight, the kloormar would tower above a human, which didn’t quite fit my narrative. I traced parts of the sketch and sent Alain a few diagrams to clarify my change requests.
After a couple of adjustments, Alain was ready to start on some preliminary 3D models to capture Kelvoo’s most basic shapes.
There was a great deal of back-and-forth involving more bad sketches from me and excellent revisions by Alain.
Alain added detailed textures and I was blown away by the results!
Now, Alain was able to position, “paint” and light the model. He provided me with a variety of images with varying positions, viewing angles and lighting. As a result Kelvoo was “born”!
If you would like to take a look at Alain’s amazing portfolio, be sure to visit www.alainberset.com.
Blog posts in chronological order
What is Kelvoo's Testimonial?
A bit about me
The publishing process - Editorial Evaluation
Who or what are the Kloormari?
What's the twist that differentiates Kelvoo's Testimonial?
Which issues does Kelvoo's Testimonial address?
Where did the idea of Kelvoo's Testimonial originate?
Is Kelvoo's Testimonial intended to reflect the experiences of native people in the Americas?
Book cover - Initial concepts
Depicting Kelvoo - My work with an amazing artist
Book cover - Final selection
Kelvoo.com website launch!
Original Song #1 - The Boys of Jezebel's Fury
Original Song #2 - Home on the Yangtze
Original Song #3 - Flying Away
My First Printed Copy
My First Review and Bookstore Order!
Now Available at Bolen Books!
Kelvoo's Testimonial gets a Kirkus Starred Review!
Official Launch Day!
A Sequel to Kelvoo's Testimonial?
Come Visit Me on Mastodon
Phenomenal News from Kirkus Reviews!
First Draft of Kelvoo's Terra Completed!
Kelvoo's Terra - Cover Reveal!
Kelvoo and Kindle Unlimited
Kelvoo's Terra - Official Launch!
Kelvoo's Books in your Local Bookstore
Kelvoo's Terra - First Amazon Reviews